Hidden episode 4 review

craith hidden episode 4

Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.

Crime drama serials, if made well enough, can be seriously memorable affairs. We all have our favourites from down the years, of course. Mostly though, we remember them as a whole – in their entirety. Rarely do we recall specific episodes – unless, that is, the makers decide to cut loose with one and get a little creative. The most common way to do just that? To zoom in and focus on something for a whole hour with no cutting to other plot strands. Often this means just one location and a limited cast is used. Called ‘bottle episodes’, they used to be employed for budgetary reasons. Now, the reasons behind them are mostly narrative based. And they often make for some damn fine television.

For us, the very best examples of this kind of the crime drama bottling come in the tenth episode of Breaking Bad season 3 – an episode called ‘Fly’ centring around the two main characters confined to cooking meth in a lab and getting annoyed at a pesky housefly. And in the unparalleled excellence that came with episode four of True Detective series 1, the stand-alone beauty ‘Who Goes There’ – a flashback about East Texan motorcycle gangs known for its incredible Steadicam shot, that rather bravely advanced the plot of the series in almost no way whatsoever.

The fourth episode of BBC Wales’ excellent and creeping series Hidden/Craith serves up something of a bottle at its midway point. There are no particularly flashy gimmicks, although slightly more flamboyant camerawork than usual is on show (to its credit). Instead, it’s more of a ‘zoom in’ effort.

Up to now, all three episodes have followed the traditional narrative structure you’d expect from a show of its kind, skipping between the crime/criminal and the police on his tail. Not so here. This week’s slice of Cymru Noir is a full forty five-odd minutes of serial abductor/killer Dylan Harris and his twisted home life. And what a forty five-odd minutes there are.

Most crime dramas hide the bad guy’s identity in order to create tension and a fun whodunit guessing game. In doing so though, you lose the ability to focus in on the most fascinating part – the psyche of the perpetrator. Sure, police procedure can be interesting and Hidden doesn’t shun that side, but its fascination with Dylan Harris and his twisted family – like a toned down version of Snowdonia Chainsaw Massacre – is gratefully received here.

So, then. Down on the farm and Dylan is bedding his new ‘patient’ (victim) in. After stepping out in front of his truck at the end of episode 3, Megan ‘chose’ her path apparently and our lanky antagonist is determined to keep her locked up in the basement of his grandparents’ burnt-out old house, to do with as he sees fit. His mother Iona appears angry at his latest kidnapping, but for a forceful woman she doesn’t exert much force around the issue. Does she secretly enjoy her son’s woman-snatching ways? It certainly seems she might.

Up until now, we’ve only really seen Harris’ doe-eyed and child-like side. We know he has a dark persona too, but it’s remained out of sight. His Mr Hyde peeks out from its Dr Jekyll shell a couple of times here, though, with Rhodri Meilir giving a wonderfully creepy and nuanced performance as the simultaneously sympathetic and skin-crawlingly terrifying Harris.

Witness to some of the evil doings, Dylan’s mute young daughter Nia now holds vital information that we’re imagining DI Cadi John and her partner Owen will be keen to tease out of her later on. You know, when the two of them are allowed back onto the show, that is.

Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 4? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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7 Comments

  1. Paula Readman says

    Brilliant! I love the mix of Welsh and English it added the the tension. We need to see more Welsh drama on British mainstream television.

  2. Vonny57 says

    His daughter is aware that something is going on his mother is evil and so far he is coming across as strange but we haven’t seen his evil side it is a very gripping series looking forward to next episode

  3. Linda says

    It’s pretty dark, although we know it’s Dylan who has Megan, we have to see what his intentions is long term, & what Nia’s role is.

  4. Simon Fenwick says

    I absolutely love this serial, though I was lucky to find it considering the fact that, for some reason the BBC never announced that it was on or even trailed it unlike some programmes that are endlessly advertised across the BBC network – thank goodness for iplayer! Having been an English fan of all the series of the dark Welsh crime drama Hinterland, I was determined to watch this in any way possible and I am glad I have. I just can’t think of anything negative that I can say about Hidden. The characterisations are excellently done and the direction and filming is top notch. Why the BBC felt that it was not worthy of advance publicity is beyond me unless there is some hidden reason. If they don’t ‘plug’ it then less people will know about it and therefore watch it. Lack of viewers? Oh well, no further series!

  5. Graeme says

    Episode 4 is absolute tosh. It’s clear what it’s trying to achieve but it’s all so slow, boring and pedestrian. Dull telly trying to dress up as ‘deep’ and ‘sophisticated’. A big disappointment after reasonable earlier episodes.

    • Paul Mc. says

      Graeme, in real life these type of abductions last weeks, months and sometimes years. You have had enough after less than 1 hour ! This episode gave us an uninterrupted insight into the mind and psyche of the bad guy, and showed us a little bit more about the relationship he has with his mother – which is why he is the way he is. If you think that is dull then this series is most certainly not for you.

  6. Alison says

    I will continue to watch this drama until the end just to see them get the baddies BUT the storylines are so SO slow and I’m finding it somewhat implausable. My mind keeps wandering because it’s so slow-mo, I’ve probably missed some vital….but then again probably not! It’s difficult to engage with the other stories playing out, that will somehow gain relevance later but by that time I will have forgotten who these characters are. What I’m finding very hard to believe is that the Welsh police wouldn’t have put out a poster and TV campaign on-the-lines of: have you seen this man (photos and photofit) and very recognisable red truck? They would have got him by now in the ‘real-world’. Yawn.